The Bulb Ban

Being in the electrical/ sustainable energy business I get asked all the time about the Incandescent light bulb being outlawed.  Especially with the first round of bulbs (100 watt)  going into effect last year. what is the outlaw? what does it effect? do i need to stock pile them?

In December 2007, the federal government enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which requires all general-purpose light bulbs that produce 310–2600 lumens of light[30] be 30% more energy efficient (similar to current halogen lamps) than current incandescent bulbs by 2012 to 2014. The efficiency standards will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014.

Light bulbs outside of this range are exempt from the restrictions. Also exempt are several classes of specialty lights, including appliance lamps, rough service bulbs, 3-way, colored lamps, and plant lights.

July 12, 2011 the house of representatives  tried to repeal the law, with no luck. So there is a chance that it could go back and be repealed again? Either way it will be a while (if ever) for the incandescent to be completely gone.


Let us look at the T-12 liner Fluorescent (the fatter of all the fluorescent bulbs) which was deemed un efficient.  In 2005 the manufactures were not aloud to make any more new fixtures with T-12.  Then in 2010, they add to quit making all ballast for replacement use.  There are still a lot of new still in the box T-12 fixtures out there. As well as replacement ballast and bulbs.  I don’t know why any one would want to use the T-12 anymore, but they are still out there.  In fact we had a retro-fit the other day and they sent us t-12 ballast instead of t-8.  As far as the incandescent goes, they will have to stop making them by 2014, but I am sure the supply will still be around for a long time.  Also the rule is set for general lighting.  it does not mean specialty lighting.  So the incandescent will not completely go away, they will just be know as specialty bulbs.


To me this banned on the incandescent is the same as prohibition of the 1920’s.  There are some hard core energy-holics that are going to need their fix. Or even the regular hard working american who just wants to read is paper after work in the nice calming glow.   weather they get their incandescent bulbs as a “specialty bulb” same as you could get booze from a doctor for being “sick”.  Or maybe a bunch of “bath tub bulbs” will hit the market, people flocking to secret underground clubs to read under there red/yellowish light. Of course the cover charge will have to be hefty to cover the electric bill.  Then will the cops/fbi get involved, doing raids on these club and chasing “bulb” runners?  on the bright  side when the cops take these lamps and break them in the street, there wont be mercury all over the place.


Should the government be telling us what bulbs we can have?  With all politics aside,  I feel that energy cost and people should be the determining factor.  When the twisty compact fluorescent came out a few years ago, people jumped on them to cut down on there electric bill.  No government regulation said they had too.


With this bulb ban, I really don’t think you need to be stock piling/ hoarding incandescent bulbs.  it will be a while before if ever the supplies run out.  and as stated before you will still be able to get them under “specialty use”.  Regardless of any laws, it is still up to the individual if they want to pay for the high energy usage incandescent.